AGING SERVICES: February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

During American Heart month 2017, Million Hearts a national initiative of the US Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging young adults to engage in heart to heart conversations with their parents and family about their health. The Million Hearts campaign aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, to improve care and empower Americans to make heart-healthy choices. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is encouraging all Americans to take charge of their health by taking these steps which can help to reduce their risk of heart disease:
  • Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health
  • Set small, achievable goals and track them
  • Add exercise to your daily routine
  • Increase healthy eating
  • Take steps to quit smoking
  • Take medication as prescribed 
The impact of heart disease

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Nearly half of all American adults have at least one or more of the following key risk factors that can lead to heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and/or smoking. African American men have been found to be at the highest risk. More than 40% of African American adults have high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of heart disease. The CDC estimates that nearly 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, many are not aware they have it. High blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension has been called the “silent killer”. When an individual’s blood pressure is not in control, it can affect their major organs including their heart, kidneys and brain. High cholesterol like hypertension has no symptoms, so many individuals are unaware their cholesterol is too high. When too much bad cholesterol is in the blood and arteries it can lead to heart disease and stroke. Individuals with diabetes have a two to four times increased risk for heart disease.

Medicare preventive benefits help determine risk

Medicare beneficiaries with Part B coverage are able to receive two preventive benefits which helps determine their risk for cardiovascular disease. Beneficiaries pay nothing if their doctor or health care provider accepts Medicare assignment.
  1. Cardiovascular disease (behavioral therapy) is an annual cardiovascular disease risk reduction visit with the beneficiary’s primary care doctor. The visit includes: encouraging aspirin use when applicable; screening for high blood pressure; and counseling to promote a healthy diet. 
  2. Every five years, if ordered by their doctor, beneficiaries can receive a cardiovascular disease screening. The screening checks cholesterol, blood fat (lipid) and triglyceride levels in order to determine if the beneficiary has high cholesterol.  
The month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and increasing knowledge about prevention. Heart disease can be prevented.  Educate yourself on the dangers of heart disease and get on track to better heart health.

Content Last Modified on 2/7/2017 12:20:02 PM